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| |-+  April 2012 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  April 17 & 18, 2012 Sasse Ridge Rocket run
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Author Topic: April 17 & 18, 2012 Sasse Ridge Rocket run  (Read 1404 times)
larry's sister
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April 17 & 18, 2012 Sasse Ridge Rocket run
« on: 04/19/12, 04:52 PM »

This last overnight ski trip of the season started out with minimal hopes of much skiing as Larry and I headed up hill in the dirty snow of road 4315. It is always more fun to wind up trough the trees, so we left the road just after the first road bend, seeing that the snow pack was adequate in the woods. We were happy to see as we rejoined the road at about 2800' feet that there was plenty of snow on the road for skiing back down if it didn't freeze up solid overnight.  We find that skiing down in rotten spring snow with a full overnight pack is asking for trouble with the number of knife ridges between trees and hidden holes or tree wells to suck us in. We continued uphill in high overcast conditions, on a mostly firm base. Pole pressure had to be gentle as they punched through regularly to the rotten snow underneath. As the weather prediction was for warming and rain later we opted for our lower campsite at 3472'. Setting up tents in no wind, no rain or snow and total quiet was so relaxing it felt like cheating. Only sound was the constant calls of a couple of grouse looking for mates. Midday temps in the mid 40's made the tents sag as the stakes lost their holding power, and we just hoped it would freeze by bedtime. Happy hour included a detailed discussion of the skiing possibilities of the next day, plus all the memories of past spring trips. We are getting to the years of wondering if there will be a next one.
Photo of Larry's rotten snow pack pressure test. If the snow in the morning won't support you on one ski, best to have more breakfast and another nap.
Light snow had already started during happy hour and continued off and on all night, accumulation of about an inch and 31 degrees by morning. Luckily the snow had set up enough to support our weight and we headed uphill at the usual 6:00am. No headlamps needed, and the surface improved as we went up. Snow showers and diminished visibility came and went as we climbed to the top of the ridge at 5100'. The flavor was still one of winter, fresh snow on all the trees, no wind, and an untracked smooth ridge to ski down. The ski back down the front side left Larry exclaiming about how long it had been since he had done a true Rocket Run - perfect conditions. I hadn't seen him ski so fast in many years! I just wished I had goggles as the tears made it hard to keep the trees in focus and see where he was going. That run for me was the best Birthday gift for turning 65. Awesome way to wrap up the overnight snow camping season.
The ski out after another 2hours for drying gear, eating and napping was uneventful as we took the road. By then the snow was really rotten in the trees. Last photo is the dirty snow below  the 2700' snowline. It really made us appreciate our last trip in fresh snow conditions. By the time we were driving away the downpour started.


* Larrys_spring_snowpack_tolerance_test.jpg (117 KB, 800x600 - viewed 520 times.)

* Nearing_the_top_of_Sasse_ridge_between_fog_patches.jpg (102.62 KB, 800x600 - viewed 517 times.)

* lower_elevation_dirty_snow_below_2700.jpg (192.09 KB, 800x600 - viewed 491 times.)
« Last Edit: 04/19/12, 05:01 PM by larry's sister » Logged
Larry_R
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Re: April 17 & 18, 2012 Sasse Ridge Rocket run
« Reply #1 on: 04/20/12, 01:16 PM »

Thanks for writing the trip report Jane!

This was one of those trips that illustrated something we've found over the years; you don't know unless you go. Even at 8 in the evening, I still was guessing that there would be a slim chance that the skiing would be good the next day. And trying to judge from home prior to a trip is even more difficult.

Larry
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